Our current civilization is crumbling, leading to a period of crisis and potential rebirth – what we could call a "second renaissance".

There are many terms associated with it: metamodern, metacrisis, integral, teal, liminal web, gameB, regenerative and more.

The Second Renaissance project is a simple introduction to this moment of civilization crisis and awakening — and the emerging ecosystem related to it.

Why: This space can be difficult to discover, engage with, and make sense of. For instance, there are many new terms associated with it: Metamodern, Metacrisis, Integral, Teal, Liminal Web, GameB, Regenerative, and more. This can be confusing and make it hard to understand what they all mean, how they all fit together etc. Overall, there is a lot of information and content out there, comprising many perspectives and approaches. Navigating all of this can be a bit overwhelming and bewildering.

What: The project contains a simple framing narrative along with introductions to key ideas, as well as a wiki and forum for community contribution and conversation. It aims to provides an accessible entry-point – a gateway – for people to discover and make sense of this emerging moment and field. A bit like a curated art gallery for an emerging area of art.

Who is involved

This project was initiated by Life Itself with the following initial team of curators and advisors.


  • Rufus Pollock, co-founder Life Itself – Curatorial Lead
  • Catherine Tran, Life Itself Research – Research lead
  • Danielle Johnson, Limicon – Onboarding Lead and Deputy Wiki Lead
  • James Baker, Intentional Society – Curator and Social Designer
  • Lauren Wigmore, Life Itself Comms –Communications
  • Simon Grant, Life Itself Senior Research Associate – Wiki Lead
  • Sylvie Barbier, co-founder Life Itself – Design and Narrative


  • Alexander Beiner, co-founder of Rebel Wisdom
  • Daniel Thorson, Emerge Podcast
  • Isabela Granic, McMaster University and Liminal Learning
  • Jamie Bristow, Mindfulness Initiative
  • Joe Lightfoot, Collective Blooming
  • Naryan Wong, Cultivating Leadership and Limicon
  • Oren Slozberg, Commonweal
  • Peter Limberg, the Stoa
  • Phil Chen, Steward of Eon V, Limicon and Ephemeral Group Process
  • Richard Bartlett, The Hum and Microsolidarity

Why: Background and Motivation

At Life Itself we've been working in "this space" for a decade.

We started formally mapping this emerging ecosystem in 2019/2020 and in September 2020 released a first, preliminary report "State of Sensemaking". Following a year of further research, in 2021/2022 we published the "Paradigmatic Integral Pragmatic (PIP) Changemakers" report.

This identified there was a growing ecosystem of people who are recognising the need for social change which is:

  • Paradigmatic (or meta-crisis aware): seeking a transformation of the entire social paradigm at both a structural and “ontological” (worldview and narratives) level, i.e. not just incremental reform of existing systems
  • Integrated and Inner-led: integrating the need for “inner” change of (individual and collective) worldviews, values, belief systems, and consciousness – as well as “outer” change of economic, political, and technological infrastructures and policies etc. 

However, the ecosystem is still difficult to discover, engage with, and make sense of. For instance, there are many new terms associated with it: Metamodern, Metacrisis, Integral, Teal, Liminal Web, Game B, Regenerative, and more. It’s hard to understand what they all mean and how they all fit together. There is a lot of information and content out there, comprising many perspectives and approaches. Navigating all of this can be overwhelming and bewildering – including for us too sometimes. 

We've increasingly seen the need to be able to present these ideas and emerging ecosystem to others in an accessible way. In particular, how can we help people to find a path into or through this emerging ecosystem which supports them to realize meaningful changes in their lives and the world around them?


Recently one of our team was talking to Sam, an old friend from college. They were trying to explain to Sam what we are working on:

"I start out with the climate crisis which he knows about and how it connects to deeper roots in our cultural paradigm. Sam is interested and asking me many questions. However, quickly I find I'm using terms like polycrisis, metacrisis or teal. These are unfamiliar and I start trying to explain them. We talk for an hour and even then we've only just scratched the surface."

I want to be able explain this all in a reasonably simple way, and I want an accessible resource I can point Sam to where he can get started and find out more if he wants …

What: A Gateway to the Second Renaissance

In short, we see the need for a gateway to this space: a simple, accessible way for people to find out about key concepts, initiatives and actors and how they are connected.1

A useful gateway would provide, at least the following:

  • A name so people can easily remember and refer to it
  • A core narrative that delineates and frames it
  • Accessible presentation of key ideas, themes etc
  • Pointers to more info and pathways to get involved
  • Situated relative to things people know which provides both the "oh, ok i know that part" feeling as well as social credibility "oh this connects to these other areas that are already known"

How: Narrative, News and Wiki

What that means is we plan to provide (at least):

  • Narrative: introducing the second renaissance and its key themes and concepts
  • Newsletter: to provide a simple, curated and accessible way in to both discover ideas (one per issue) and news
  • Wiki and/or forum: to go deeper and a space for community and contribution


These three parts complement each other. A wiki on its own can be bewildering, even a bit overwhelming and scary, especially for newcomers. A newsletter on its own does not have the richness of a wiki knowledgebase and does not offer an avenue for contribution. By offering both with a clear vision and principles you can get best of both worlds.


Our guiding principles are:

  • Curated: so that there is a focused and distinct curatorial perspective. Note: this doesn’t mean that what we offer is the only, or “right”, or “best” perspective. However, we will try to be as clear and transparent as we can about our curatorial frame and welcome constructive feedback on our approach.
  • Accessible: simple, shareable and easy to understand
  • Public: Open to everyone

Appendix: Deeper motivation: five whys

We the initiators for this project want to create a gateway for the "second renaissance" because …

  • We want more people to get involved in second renaissance type stuff (ideas, projects etc), especially people on the edge or close by (and eventually broader society to see) because …
  • We want a movement for a second renaissance because …
  • We want a a paradigmatic transition to happen …
  • We want that because it is key to addressing the (meta)crisis and bringing forth a radically wiser, weller world (see the front page of this website 😉)

Imagine the world or art where there is all kinds of different art going on. Suppose we’re noticing a new type of art emerging but it doesn’t even have an agreed name yet. It’s hard to find and even talk about – you go to some show in someone’s basement and feel a vibe etc but hard to even describe to your friends (remember there’s no name etc).

To help, we propose to create a gallery to help showcase this new kind of art so people can more easily find it and talk about it – to highlight a center of an emerging field.2

The gallery has a vision statement and in curating it brings certain sets of artists together to really present them to the public and to that community. Both so the broader society can see them – and so they can see themselves.


  1. We acknowledge that there is still debate and discussion about if there is a "single space" or in fact multiple related "spaces" – see https://secondrenaissance.net/publications/overview-ecosystem-names. This very uncertainty is further demonstration of the need for a project like this – this is another potential complexity we want to help people to navigate. For example, we can provide a "rosetta stone" to help people translate between domains helping "insiders" to see each other and making it easier for outsiders to see the commonalities.

  2. to use Christopher Alexander terminology.